This week in renewable energy: 3/7/14

Every week, Community Renewable Energy shares important clean energy developments– and some that are just plain cool.

Here’s what we’ve been reading.

Global progress

  • This week, we shared how Ghana is poised to become a major player in solar power. In the past few days, the nation has announced plans to construct six 100-megawatt solar power parks as well as a new solar panel factory. (Treehugger)
  • Ernst and Young released its latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. The US remains on top, and Japan shot up the rankings, surpassing the UK for the first time. The Index also highlights countries to keep an eye on, including Uruguay, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. See the infographic at the end of this post for more details. (Solar Power Portal)
  • Solar power is making life better– and safer– in rural communities. “In Asia and Africa, nearly 1.5 billion people live in ‘off the grid’ villages with an acute electricity shortage. Often their only source of light is kerosene lamps, which expose families to toxic fumes and risk of home fires. Patrick Walsh launched Greenlight Planet to change that.” (CNN Money)

America’s energy policy

  • Power Africa enjoys bipartisan support.
  • This Thursday, the House of Representatives overrode EPA regulations on coal power plants (H.R. 3826). Critics of this development have said that it represents a step backward in US energy policy and opens the door to China dominating the renewable energy market. The White House spoke out: “Because H.R. 3826 threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector, if the president is presented with H.R. 3826, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.” (The Hill)
  • President Obama’s recently unveiled 2015 budget proposal takes on climate change. It’s important to note that the President’s budget is a platform to display his priorities and values– a two-year budget has already been passed by legislators. Think Progress broke down some of the green proposals (in their words):
        • Clean Energy Tax Credits. This includes a permanent extension of the production tax credit for wind — a cost of $19.2 billion over ten years — which expired at the end of 2013. There’s also $401 million over that time period for alternative-fuel trucks tax credits, and $1.7 billion for cellulosic biofuel.
        • Cutting Fossil Fuel Tax Breaks. The budget would axe about $4 billion in tax breaks that are currently available to the oil and natural gas industries, and another $3.9 billion in tax preferences for coal.
        • Climate Resiliency Fund. Obama announced last month he would ask Congress for $1 billion to fund new technology and infrastructure to prepare for climate change, aid for communities, and new research. The budget makes good on that promise.
        • Infrastructure vulnerabilities. The budget would give the Department of Homeland Security an extra $400 million to track down “critical infrastructure vulnerabilities” to climate change.
        • Clean Energy Technology. The National Science Foundation would get $362 million under the budget to research advanced forms of green energy.
        • Energy Networks. Overall, the budget boosts funding for the Energy Department to $27.9 billion in 2015 — an increase of 2.6 percent over 2014. That includes $355 million to beef up the robustness of the electrical grid and fuel transportation infrastructure.

Bright ideas

  • The Economist predicts that solar power’s popularity will continue to surge.
  • Likewise, Salon celebrated the progress of solar power. They write, “A full 29 percent of all new electricity installations were solar, with developers installing 4.75 gigawatts worth of photovoltaic panels — a growth of 41 percent over 2012. By the end of the year, there were a total of 440,000 operating solar electric systems in the U.S., generating enough electricity to power 2.2 million homes.”
  • A ranking of the top solar metro areas in America reveals that state policy plays a powerful role in making cities solar leaders. California’s famously solar-friendly public policy has helped many of its cities take advantage of renewable power, but a few cities that made the list (such as Philly) might surprise you. (Planetsave)
  1. Fresno, CA
  2. Pheonix, AZ
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Sacramento-Yolo, CA
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Philadelphia, PA
  8. New York City
  9. Los Angeles
  10. San Antonio, TX

What do you think was the most important renewable energy story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about sustainable community and economic development, visit Praxia Partners’ blog.

This entry was posted in In the News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *